When a soccer game is on the line, this Camas sisterhood gets stronger by the minute.
They fight together until they hear the final whistle. Celebrate. Collapse on the field in exhaustion. Pull each other back up, and repeat.
“It’s scary. All the pressure is on you to get the ball up and don’t let them get by,” said center back Mason Minder. “We’re all a big family back there. That’s a huge part of it.”
Tonight, the league champion Papermakers host Skyview in the district title match, at 7 p.m., at Doc Harris Stadium. Camas allowed only two goals in a 16-game season, compiled 15 victories and settled for one tie. It came against Skyview.
Minder, fellow defenders Maddy Belzer, Perri Belzer, Sarah Tennyson, Alyssa Tomasini, and goalkeepers Marie Matthews and Lauren Rood, have all played a part in this record breaking stand. They are determined to be even harder to penetrate during the playoffs.
“Playing together for all these years makes us look back on every memory and cherish every moment,” Tennyson said. “We never give up. We’re always striving to get better. You can see it in our personalities and how we react. We want to make this last as long as possible.”
Tennyson, Minder and Maddy Belzer anchor the backline. Perri Belzer and Tomasini emerged as solid contributors this season. After a breakthrough performance at goalkeeper in 2013, Matthews earned the honor of becoming team captain during her senior year. She hasn’t lost a step in front of the net.
“You want to make your last season count,” Matthews said.
Rood took advantage of every opportunity to play goalkeeper for the U-17 national team, but she couldn’t wait to be back on the field with her best friends and in her school colors.
“These are my roots. This is where I’m from,” Rood said. “I can’t think of a better feeling then being back out here with my friends representing my hometown.”
Rood and Matthews switch off at goalkeeper, cheering for each other and their teammates every step of the way.
“It’s always good to have somebody to train with,” Matthews said. “We push each other to do our best.”
“We’re best friends, on and off the field,” Rood added.
Maddy and Perri Belzer are the only two real sisters of the bunch.
“We’ve played with each other a lot growing up,” Maddy said. “We argue sometimes, but seniority takes over.”
Camas has seven seniors who are playing for everything in these next few weeks. Now is not the time to change the formula.
“We are not going to settle for anything less than playing hard until the last whistle sounds in our last game,” Maddy Belzer said.
The Papermakers hope to hear that last whistle in the state championship game. That’s what they have been dreaming about since they were little.
This is more than just a soccer team. These girls are family. Sisters.